Okay, this one is in Katara's POV, and Aang and Sokka will be here most, if not all, the time. And if you can't tell by my other fics, this is a Zutara. I might slip in some Sokka/Yue.
T for later chapters. Zuko's in it; there is gonna be some violence.
Day Three after the Winter Solstice, third day of Winter
There comes a time in every journey when you realize there is no turning back.
For Sokka and me, that time was when we went fishing, all those weeks ago, and I blew my top. Would you believe it was supposed to be my mother's birthday? It's hard to believe that I was weeping just hours before finding Aang. (Sokka was crying as well, but he'd never admit it.) Gran-Gran was right; your life can change in an instant.
Speaking of Sokka, my big brother has been moody since Yue sacrificed herself. I know he was in love with her (a blind man could tell), so I haven't picked on him for being sad and on the verge of tears half the time. I guess what made it worse is Sokka's birthday was the day after the solstice. He confided to Aang and me that he had been prepared to propose to Yue after hearing her late fiancé, whatisname, had been killed trying to attack Zhao.
Aang looked up at the full moon when Sokka told us. (It was nighttime.) "I think she knows," he said in that mysterious Avatar-like way he has. Sokka gave me a skeptical look, to which I just shrugged. He sighed and lay down in his sleeping bag. Both boys fell asleep soon after, Sokka in his bag, Aang on Appa. I bended some water to douse the fire and fell asleep myself.
The next morning (today), we loaded up Appa and set off from the small island we had landed on. "Better wrap up," I commented. "I feel a storm coming on, and soon." Aang took the cloak willingly, and Sokka muttered he already had his parka on. I pulled a cloak over my parka and sat down to do absolutely nothing.
The storm hit us head on. "Hang on!" I heard Aang call over the raging wind and heavy water.
"No need to tell me that!" Sokka called back. I noticed he had firmly grasped Appa's saddle. A hug gust of wind nearly blew me off; I followed my brother's suit. Aang was trying to bend the air around us and make a protective barrier from the storm. I lifted one arm and made an umbrella over Appa. It worked for about three minutes before my arm got tired and we got soaked some more. Suddenly, I saw lightning hit Appa's leg.
"Aang! Appa's hit!" I called.
I didn't get time to repeat myself because Appa began to sharply descend. "Appa! Yip yip! Yip yip!" Aang called to no avail. The flying bison fell even farther.
A white ball of fur jumped on my head. "Momo, get off!" I muttered, prying the little lemur away from my face. Momo squeaked and held on tighter. "Momo! If you don't let go, Spirits help me, I will make you into a frozen lemur-sicle." My threat didn't work; it just served to make Momo even more panicked, if that was possible.
I felt branches, sharp ones, brush past me. Aang must have found an island to land Appa, I thought. With lurch, we landed. Momo left my face and I looked to Aang. "Is Appa okay?"
Aang inspected the wound on Appa's leg. I noted he had lost the cloak. "That lightning was bad; it'll be a few days before he can fly, right boy?" Aang rubbed Appa's huge head; the bison moaned in pain. "Can you heal him, Katara?" I hopped down.
"I'd need tons of water, Aang," I said. "Unless we can find a really deep lake and dunk him in it, and I had about ten other Water Healers with me, I can't heal him. I can take away some of the pain, though." I bended some of the rainwater and pressed the healing waters to Appa's leg. He winced (at least, I think he did), but then licked me. "Okay, okay," I laughed. "Enough. Sokka, get up." My big brother didn't move. Sighing, I went over to where he had fallen when Appa landed. He was flat on his back, faking unconsciousness.
Shrugging, I bended more rainwater, froze it, and then shot tiny ice crystals at my brother. He jerked up.
"Okay, I'm up. What d'you want?" he asked.
"Can you and Aang find a cave or someplace with more shelter?" I asked, looking up at the sky. Water drops the size berries hit me. "We'll catch cold if we stay out here to long, and I don't see any Frozen Wood Frogs." Sokka cringed at the memory of that cure and got up. "I'll look around and try to find some decently dry wood for a fire," I called after Aang and Sokka's retreating backs. They nodded in acknowledgement, and I set out to find fuel.
Pulling my hoods up, I prayed to La that I wouldn't get too badly soaked and left the grove we had landed in. Walking along the shoreline, I found driftwood (soaked), Aang's cloak (soaked), and a Fire Nation pennant (also soaked). I took the driftwood and the cloak, leaving the pennant. "Just what we need; Fire Nation soldiers here," I muttered, returning to the spot where Appa was with the wood. Depositing it, I bended the water out of my hair and went back, taking a different path along the shore.
A suddenly crash against the rocks made me jump. My mind roared Someone's been hurt! I dropped the wood and followed the sound. I saw the wood pieces before I saw the victims. I took the wood and kept running.
Reaching the rocks, I saw half a raft floating out in the ocean, bobbing up and down like a cork in the waves. I thought I saw someone on it, but when I looked harder, the raft was under the waves. Turning back to the shore, I spotted another figure, lying in a prone position in the sand. I ran over and turned the figure over. I gasped.
It was Prince Zuko.
Sokka returned with me when I told him what, and who, I'd found. "I say we toss 'im into the sea," Sokka said.
"No." My brother and I turned to see Aang. "He could have hurt me a lot worse than he did when he had me back at the Pole."
"Aang, you've already saved him once. If anyone owes anyone anything, it's him," I said, kicking the unconscious prince with my toe. "I was ready to let him freeze back at the Pole, but you stepped in."
Aang put on his Avatar face. He opened his mouth, but I stopped him. "I know, I know. You can't kill anyone in cold blood. Sokka, since you're the strongest, you'll have to carry him back." Sokka gave me his stubborn look. "Now, or I'll freeze you." My brother sighed and lifted the prince up.
"In La's name, he's heavy," he complained.
"Deal." We walked in silence to the cave we had found.